28 September 2010

Priorities

I had an interesting discussion with a friend a few weeks ago. She asked me how in the world I keep up with this blog.

I explained that, first of all, it has to do with my memory. I feel like I must have a photo of things to really grasp them before they slip quietly out of my brain never to be remembered. To me, the photos and written descriptions are like a safety-net, holding on to those things I cherish most in life.

I’m also all about moments.

The moment in time when my son learned how to catch with his arms stretched out, waiting for the ball to land precisely in his tiny hands. Or the moment when my newborn soothed himself by clutching his nose. Or all those moments when my boys seemed to magically bond, unaware that anyone was watching.

I don't want to let any of those first smiles slip into the past without lassoing them first with the help of my camera. I don't want to forget the funny things my children said or the clever connections they made without recording them. I want to make sure my babies are “bottled up” to a certain degree while they are still little.

Keeping a current documentation of our lives is part of my sanity. Somehow spilling out how I feel makes me more conscientious of how I live my life. I feel like it makes me a more deliberate mother and it makes me feel great to have a record of our life under my belt. And because of that, I make it a priority.

Obviously not everyone has the same priorities. Not everyone adores yoga like I do. Not everyone feels rejuvenated when they get their feelings written out. My friend I had that discussion with is a runner. Running is a passion for her. She'll run up to ten miles some days. As for me, running is definitely not my forte. Sure, it's something that would be nice to do more of, but it's not a priority for me right now in my life. It is hers. And she is a better person because she is taking the time to pursue what she loves. She's more balanced and ready to embrace life when she's done with a run because in doing it she is becoming herself.

The problem with all this prioritizing mumbo jumbo is that sure, we all know we need to prioritize, but how do we find the right priorities in a mothering world where it seems everyone surrounding us needs part of us every minute of the day. What do we prioritize? What is it ok not to prioritize?

As long as we know that we are prioritizing the right stuff, (families and faith are at the top as far as I'm concerned...we all want so much for our husbands and kids to feel that we prioritize them above anything else, right?). But sometimes we forget that we need to prioritize ourselves in order to "be there" more wholly for our families. We need to get out and run that marathon or take that class or document our lives to become ourselves.

As mothers we have to neglect some stuff. No matter how hard we try, we can't do everything. And that's ok! I often neglect working out or making an elaborate dinner during nap time because I feel more recharged by making sure all of our moments and memories are accounted for. It is a just a priority for me. I can relax at the end of the day knowing that moments have been recorded and I no longer have to keep the details in the forefront of my memory.

I am so glad that I make our records a priority. I look back with pride through our archives, knowing that someday my big kids will be able to read all about the moments they won't remember when they grow up. The rest of the priorities in my life don't just go away as I organize photos and journal about events. They still swirl on; but nothing burns down, we are all still alive, and my mind is refreshed because I took the time to write about the people I love the most. That in turn helps me to become myself.


25 September 2010

Photo Op

I could not resist the opportunity to have a few photos shot of our family while all of my boys were in tuxedos. In addition to taking our family pictures, Lincoln was willing to battle the wind to whip out a few pictures of us in between our sister's ceremony and reception (which I just updated with some of the professional pictures - go look if you want to see the awesome effects the wind had on their shots). I have shared an overload of wedding pictures recently, so I promise that this will be my absolute last wedding related post!




























21 September 2010

T + L + B + N

Our friend and neighbor Lincoln is a really talented photographer. Linc happens to be the husband of BreAna, who I just had the baby shower for, and the dad of the three model boys (and soon-to-add girl) I spoke of. Troy knew that I loved his photography style. For Christmas last year, he gave me a gift certificate for a sitting session and some prints with Lincoln. Now that September has rolled around, I thought it was time to redeem the gift certificate. I was holding out until Nash was old enough to sit, focus, and smile.

We headed over to the International Peace Gardens for these shots. We love how they turned out, especially now that we get to admire his talent in large print on our walls everyday. Thank you, Lincoln!





























19 September 2010

It's a Girl

No, it's not me who is having a girl. The stars haven't quite aligned that way for me yet. But I am thrilled that my friend and neighbor BreAna is finally having a baby girl!

She has the three most gorgeous boys on the planet. Seriously. Of course I think my boys are darling and good-looking in a biased parent sort of way, but BreAna's boys could all be models with their curly hair and bright blue eyes.


Even with a house full of strapping boys, BreAna was aching for a baby girl. We have had many conversations together about this topic. We would never trade one of our little men for a girl, but we are always hoping and praying that we will be blessed with a girl someday. So, I was thrilled when BreAna found out that her 4th would  finally be a girl!

To celebrate BreAna's baby Bella and help to transform her closet from blue to pink, my friend Angie and I threw her a baby shower. We enjoyed good food, good company, and lots and lots of PINK!





18 September 2010

Hospital Take Two

We became well acquainted with the children's hospital this week. A couple of days after Nash's surgery, Blake cracked the back of his head open. He was standing on a truck in the family room and fell, gouging his scalp on the corner fireplace tile. I don't know if I've ever seen so much blood. I was hoping to go to our pediatrician to get him fixed up, but when I called they advised me to go immediately to the hospital because he would probably have to be sedated for stitches.

So, we drove back to the ER and the doctor ended up putting staples in his scalp laceration. The injury was under his hair and not in a cosmetic area, so they didn't have to sedate him to do stitches. Troy met us at the hospital since his office is almost next door. It was the first time he saw either of our boys during the week because it was quarterly roll time again at work (meaning 6am-midnight work days). Therefore, Blake cracking his head open amounted to both a much needed visit with dad and avoiding his nap.


The doctor restrained his arms and wrapped him up like a burrito for the staples. Blake was really brave and actually cried way less during the procedure than he did during the initial injury. (Excuse the blurriness - I didn't know how appropriate it was for me to be taking pictures so I took them really quick on my little point and shoot that I keep in my purse.)


When I told Blake before we left home that we were going to the hospital, he got really excited. The last time he visited the hospital was when Nash was born and he pressed the buttons on my bed that made it rise and recline. He immediately stated "Buttons at Hostibal!" when I announced where we were going. He was disappointed when we arrived in the ER and he couldn't find any hospital beds. The doctor made it up to him by giving him a juice box after his procedure. He was completely satisfied with that offering in place of pushing bed buttons.


Blake also got to pick out a stuffed animal and wear an awesome neon green bandage for 24 hours. A mix of the 80's and ninja turtles; perfect.


15 September 2010

Holes in Our Hearts

There are holes in our hearts.

Literally for Nash and figuratively for us.

Last month, Nash was diagnosed with Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA), a condition in which a blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus failed to close after birth. Basically, the channel between the aorta and pulmary artery never closed in Nash's heart.

His pediatrician noticed a prominent heart murmur at his six month check up and referred us to a cardiologist. The cardiologist immediately detected the PDA in Nash's echocardiogram as the cause of his heart murmur.


Before birth, the two major heart arteries are connected by the ductus arteriosus. This vessel is open and is an essential part of fetal blood circulation. Within minutes or up to a few days after birth, the vessel is supposed to close as part of the normal changes occurring in the baby's circulation. In rare cases, however, the ductus arteriosus remains open (patent). PDA occurs more often in pre-term infants than in full-term infants. It occurs on average in about 2 of every 1,000 full-term infant births. PDA is also twice as common in girls as it is in boys. Since Nash was considered full-term and is also male, the odds were really against him for being diagnosed with PDA. The doctors were puzzled at the detection, especially since no one noticed a heart murmur until Nash was six months old.

If PDA is left untreated, it can cause too much blood to flow through the heart, weakening the heart muscle and causing heart failure and other complications. It can also lead to an increased risk for bacterial heart infections. People with PDA usually develop heart problems sooner or later unless the PDA is closed.


So, we are opting to repair Nash's PDA by closing the open channel with a inserted coil. He will undergo cardiac catheterization for the procedure.

Nash underwent his first surgery before the age of one yesterday and will have another surgery to repair the PDA in a few months. The nurses, doctors, and anesthesiologists all pointed out how loud his murmur was while examining him pre-surgery. A nurse practitioner even let me listen to the irregular beat.

May I just point out amidst the surgery situation how adorable little baby gowns are? Those ties in the back? Too precious for words.


It felt like my heart had holes in it when I had to hand over our sweet baby to the anesthesiologist. I teared up as I watched her carry Nash down the hall into a room that only people with green scrubs could go into. It was also hard to see his helpless little body on a hospital bed in recovery. He was completely out of it.

Nash did really well with his first surgery, but the poor little guy hasn't been himself since the procedure. With any surgery that the patient is knocked out and given narcotics, there is a lot of sleepiness and pain that follow.


It is amazing to me how many millions of things can go wrong in the development of a child. And how perfect babies can be born with no threatening medical conditions whatsoever. We are so grateful that in Nash's case, his ailments have been somewhat minor and have not affected his growth and development. We love our little Nash and we are confident that he will endure these procedures with strength and resilience. We are also so grateful for the concerns and prayers that have been sent our way. Thank you!


13 September 2010

Road Trip to Cali

We took a very quick road trip to California over the weekend. We were in the state for about 24 hours, and the rest of the trip consisted of hours and hours of driving on the road. We crammed seven people including two carseats (which actually took up more room than adults) into one vehicle. We came back the worse for wear; we were all exhausted from a lack of sleep, Blake's back was sunburned lobster red (completely my fault), both boys were confused from sleeping in strangers' houses and a couple of hotel pit-stops, we were so sick of setting up and taking down two pack 'n plays six different times, Blake acquired an inch long gouge across his chin from tripping on the trailer hitch, and that poor boy had never stayed up till 11:30pm in his life until this trip where he accomplished that feat three nights in a row.

Despite the condition we came home in, we actually had a wonderful time in California. All in all, the boys were spectacular travelers. Nash slept on and off in the car and even though Blake wouldn't sleep in the car, he was entertained by watching Toy Story and Toy Story 2 a million gazillion times (undeterred by our cajoling to get him to watch something else).

A highlight of the trip was a stop at Panera Bread. We exited the freeway with plans to eat at Chili's because we were so sick of fast food, but then I saw the illuminated bread lady with wavy hair pointing me home. Begging and pleading don't even begin to describe the methods I used to convince Troy to go to Panera. You see, he doesn't think that soup and salad constitute a meal. I even pulled the "we-didn't-get-to-go-to-Michigan-this-summer-so-this-is-the-next-best-thing" card. In the end, Troy obliged. I was in heaven. Pure delicious cheddar broccoli soup heaven. Oh how I miss Panera! They need to expand to Salt Lake.

The real reason we went to California was for Jacob and Tricia's reception. It was another excuse to get all dressed up and celebrate these two lovebirds.


The reception was held in Jacob's parents' beautiful yard. And since it doesn't rain in LA, Tricia finally got to have her outdoor reception that fell through in Salt Lake.

My favorite detail of this reception was the sage ribbon with chiffon flowers. I want some of that ribbon! Jacob's mom agreed to take me to the wholesale distributor that she got the ribbon from on our next visit.


A close second favorite detail was what the ribbon jar contained. Since Jacob is heading off to dental school, their party favors were inscripted toothbrushes. Perfect.


The toothbrushes were handy in entertaining our children as well.

No tux rentals this time for the big boys, but the rest of the apparel looked strikingly similar to the wedding day.

The perks of a lack of sleep: Nash crashing on me. That never ever gets old.

Blake fell in love with the tire swing they had in their yard.

He fell even more in love with the flower girl, Lilly. He grabbed her hands and placed them around his neck and held onto her waist while dancing. I really don't know where he learned that from. His parents told me later about a full-on lips kiss he planted on her as well. He's such a ladies man!



The most hilarious moment of the entire evening was when Lilly's cousin tried to gain back what he thought was his territory. He got right up in Blake's face trying to steal Lilly away. But Blake was bold and held onto his girl. I was proud. Usually he would shy away in a situation like that. I guess that is just proof of Blake's affection for pretty girls. All of the onlooking adults were in hysterics watching this scene unfold.





Tricia told me the next day that the act of Blake and Lilly dancing like adults and the cousin trying to cut in was the highlight of the entire reception for her.

One of my best friends from Michigan, Kristen, came to the reception as well since she lives in Cali now. I miss her so much!


The next morning, Nash got up really early and I couldn't resist taking him on a sunrise walk in the mountains. I didn't even bother changing him out of his pj's; I just had to catch those views.

We stayed at Troy's Aunt and Uncle Whitworth's beautiful home. The pool and jacuzzi water were really cold so Blake just dipped his toes in (this was the point where he got the lobster red sunburn).

Instead of braving the water himself, Blake utilized his Uncle Todd as his personal ball gopher. He stood lazily at the top, throwing his ball into the pool and waiting for it to be retrieved.

We also took advantage of the trampoline in their yard.


It has been about six years since I've done a back tuck so I'm glad that I didn't break any bones while attempting to deny my age. Man it was fun to fly around. I think I'll add a trampoline to my wish list along with that awesome ribbon.

Our final activity in our 24-hour California excursion was a wedding gift unwrapping party for the bride and groom. We had a lot of laughs and it was really fun to get to know Jacob's family better.

We bid thee farewell, California. See you next month when we stay for more than a day.